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Preaching in Chains (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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March 22, 2024 6:00 am

Preaching in Chains (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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March 22, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Fellowship in the Word
Bil Gebhardt

There's Antipas. There's a faithful servant.

And even they as a church, they stood their ground in the face of persecution, but they brought in heresies. And so that, you know, who doesn't that steam? Like, I'm fine with that. I'm not fine with that. We shouldn't be fine with that. But we got to be careful.

You have to be careful. What's the Lord doing? There are faithful servants in unfaithful churches.

And I think that is one of the reasons God put that in Revelation. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of Acts.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now, here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his study called Preaching in Chains in Acts chapter 28. What our faith forbids and condemns, the world demands. It demands that we accept it, insist that we are wrong. Oftentimes they become angry towards us for not ignoring sin, for daring to oppose them. This one goes back to Cain and Abel. Cain killed his brother because his brother was righteous and he hated it. And instead of saying, man, what makes you tick?

How can I get some of that? He decided to eliminate him. He wouldn't have to look at his face for having the audacity to call the world, upset with us, for having the audacity to call their craziness insanity. And we're living it unlike ever before. They've moved from attacking marriage to just attacking humanity and demanding we, all right, I don't want to get too much into that. You all get it. And if you're visiting and you have been drinking the world's Kool-Aid and you think they're onto some new thing, you need to understand there is a real evil and it's got his hands on you. And you better make a choice. You're either going to stampede to hell like a stampeding herd of apples, or you are going to listen to God. You're either going to think for yourself or you're going to follow the crowd.

Wide is that gate, broad is that way, and it leads to destruction. And you won't have anybody to blame in hell but yourself. So angry towards us because we like God more than them.

That's a fact that's part of reality. So Paul, he delivers the message. To them it was about who Messiah is, and to us it is about who the Savior is now. It's gone beyond Judaism. Like Islam, Christianity is not to be spread or maintained by the sword, the real sword, by violence.

So back to this. There have been imposters in Christianity that have used the sword to spread their version of Christianity. That's outside of Scripture. And that would put in question the genuineness of their belief. Verse 25, so when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul and said one word.

They departed after Paul had said one word. Sorry, just seeing if you're listening. The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, verse 26, saying, go to this people and say, hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive. Again, back to the Bible. He uses, he gets the last word in, and he uses the Bible to do it.

It's not his opinion. It's his Scripture. The Holy Spirit spoke.

Now this is important. He is quoting the words spoken to Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah's vision in the temple of God. But the one who speaks there in Isaiah chapter 6 verse 9 is Yahweh, the God of the Jews, the Lord creator of heaven and earth.

It is God speaking to Isaiah there in Isaiah 6. Paul here quotes Isaiah, and the utterance is applied to the Holy Spirit. And Paul says the Holy Spirit is God, and that the Holy Spirit, what he says, God says. This is the Trinity in action. The Holy Spirit is not an it.

He is a person of the Godhead. The members of the Trinity are not three separate persons. They are three distinct personalities in one nature. And perhaps the closest we can get to this is a triangle. A triangle has three distinct corners, but it is one triangle. And they co-exist.

They're always in agreement. The Holy Spirit speaks because he is not an it. But Satan also speaks. Satan is not a force in the universe, like the yin-yang thing going on.

He is a person too. But, well, this Lucifer, the head of the enemy, the head of satanic forces, but there are many of them that make up Satan. When Satan speaks to you, it's not Lucifer.

It's one of the minions out of hell. But it was Lucifer who spoke to Eve. And what was the first words out of his foul mouth? As indeed God said. He challenged the Bible.

That's what I talked about. You know, when we share the gospel, one of the things we have to do is establish a trustworthiness of scripture, which the world wants to just get the Bible out of the way. Somehow, some way make you think it's untrustworthy. To do this, they will resort to untrustworthy methods.

They will lie, oftentimes. Anyway, knowledge of the Bible without the Holy Spirit is dead religion. Through the Holy Spirit, that's how the Lord is exercising his will right now on earth. One of the methods, of course. Christ is not walking around teaching any more, but the Holy Spirit is.

Through people. Rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers. God speaks in order to speak through.

He speaks to his people in order to speak through his people. Religion without God's presence is a dead religion. Who can argue that? Who wants a religion without God? That would be atheism. God has faithful servants, however, in unfaithful churches.

This steams me. This does. It's like, God, I put all this work into it, and others seem to just do loony, crazy things, and they get converts. I'll give you a biblical example. In the book of Revelation, chapter 2, we have the church at Smyrna, which was being persecuted, and right after that, we have the church at Progamos, which had the doctrine of Balaam, the Nicolation. They were just doing all sorts of goofy stuff, and God was calling them out on it. And so, what we read in Revelation, chapter 2, verse 13, to the church at Progamos that was struggling, I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is, and you hold fast to my name and did not deny my faith even in the days in which Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was killed among you where Satan dwells. And so, you would think to find Antipas in the church at Smyrna, where they were being persecuted, and Jesus said, I need you, I need you to be faithful to death. When they're killing you, I need them not to kill your faith. You stand strong. That's the church in Smyrna. But then he comes to Progamos, and this is all messed up, but yet there's Antipas. There's a faithful servant.

And even they, as a church, they stood their ground in the face of persecution, but they brought in heresies. And so that, you know, who doesn't that steam? Like, I'm fine with that. I'm not fine with that. We shouldn't be fine with that. But we've got to be careful.

You have to be careful. What's the Lord doing? There are faithful servants in unfaithful churches, and I think that is one of the reasons God put that in Revelation, in the seven churches of Revelation. So, yeah, I look at some wacky church and say, man, that's just, you know, they got this and they got that, and it's like unbiblical. But yet, you meet people from that church and say, that person loves the Lord.

It's not fair. Of course, I want what God wants, and whatever my flesh wants, I know that's my enemy. Anyway, rightly, through Isaiah the prophet—we're back in verse 26—rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers. Now, the zealot Jews were incensed at being told they killed their own Messiah. This is why one Paul was hated, Peter, and the rest of them by their own people.

These Jews that he's speaking to, they're going to have to take that medicine, too. They killed their own Messiah just like the Scriptures said they would. Acts chapter 2, verse 23, him being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God as written in the Old Testament, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death. That's Peter telling them like it is. In chapter 5, Peter says, Jesus, whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.

Right out. Then Stephen, you know, who could stand before him. He says, which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the just one of whom you now have become betrayers and murderers. So you either had to make a—you had to make a choice early on if you were living in this time in history as a Jew and coming across these Christians. And then there were the zealot pagans who would persecute Christians after the Jews incensed of being told that all of their gods were phony, all of them, and that they were useless concoctions of the God-makers' club and that Jesus was the only way to heaven.

Acts 19, also many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. Those are the converts, man. The converts came out, look, I don't want you to make any mistake. I am no longer following this witchcraft. I serve Jesus now and we're going to have a public burning. So when we give an alt, we say, look, you want to receive Christ, you come up. You make that statement.

Don't start out with, oh, you know, I don't want anybody to know. Satan's going to use that against you. If you believe, then you should be rejoicing in your confession of faith. I mean, when I became a Christian, I was telling everybody, you won't believe what I read this weekend.

They were diving in back of cars, the portable foxholes they were jumping into, anything to get away from me. I lost them all and God gave me a whole bunch of new friends and aren't I glad. Acts 19, again, about the zealot pagans who resisted Christianity. This Paul, this is Demetrius making his case why Paul needs to be dealt with. This Paul has persuaded and turned away many people saying that they are not gods which are made with hands.

Yeah, well, you know, Mao tried to purge anything, he tried to purge everything out of China that wasn't communist because communism is a religion that dabbles in politics, but it is a religion and it wants no competitors. So anyway, there it is, the persecution from Jews and Gentiles alike, equal opportunity persecutors. Verse 27, for the hearts of this people have grown dull, their ears are hard of hearing. He's still quoting the prophet Isaiah, their eyes, they have clothes, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn so that I should heal them.

Well, he's standing up to them, he's giving them their own Bible. Speaking of standing up and back to not only our teens, but also our adults, you know, what would you do with Christianity if you lived in Pakistan, in Islamabad, Pakistan, where it could get you slowly killed? You know, something to think about, what do you have? Looking at, you know, what has God given me? I don't remember as a teen, you know, interested in philosophies and theology, except when the time came, there were times when it did come.

And well, for you, it's right now, it's being brought up. The world is tugging at you, this is more fun, this is better. What are you going to do with that? Are you going to think for yourself? You say, I don't believe that, and I'm not doing that. This is what I believe, and this is what I'm doing, punk. Okay, you can't say that, don't say that, unless you have a white necktie on preaching in a pulpit.

Alright, I don't think you're really enjoying what I just said, but we'll move on. You come to Christ, you see things that are real, and you want to deal with them in your own strength, and God says don't do that, and that's why I throw those little things in there, because we all have our moments where we want to really, you know, let the flesh take care of this. And God says no, don't. So, verse 27, where he quotes, the hearts of this people have grown dull. How does a heart grow dull when you have scripture? By using life without the scripture, by reducing the scripture to just a religion, ritual, without the Spirit of God and submission to Him.

You can never say to God, I'll take it from here. And that's what false religions or that's what ritual is, you know, if you just say, hey, our religion is about lighting candles and wearing robes, that's fine if you're going at the scripture, but if you're throwing the scripture to the side and saying, now this now identifies who we are, then you have religion without the Spirit of God. They read their scriptures without devotion to listening, devotion to listening. Second Corinthians, not of the letter but of the Spirit, for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. Paul knew, he said, you know, there are people that are into their religion but they don't have the Spirit of God.

And they've got all the rules and all the quotes but they're not listening. I understand it's challenging to be devoted to maintain your devotions but I think this is a good, I don't know where I got this, I don't know if it was original or if I picked it up. It sounds tozier-ish. Usually I footnote when I quote something so I don't plagiarize anyone but I'm going to take credit for it because I'm just feeling in a carnal mood. No, here it goes. A flake of inspiration never chased away a headache. A flake of devotion to Jesus never keeps one useful to Him. Well, that's hard, right, when you're trying to devote but you've got so many things pulling you but it's good to remember. I do not want to offer a flake of devotion because that's not devotion.

And I've got to try to take steps to maintain my devotional time with the Lord. He says their ears are hard of hearing. The truth wasn't penetrating so they weren't going to understand.

Many skeptics reject Christ out of personal prejudice. They don't want it to be true. They're already believing something else and they don't, you know, don't convince me with facts, my mind is made up.

And so rather than through unbiased investigation, they just slam the door. He says their eyes, they have closed. Notice the careful language of God. They could see but they closed their eyes.

Well, that's an option and they took that option. Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn. There's a little sarcasm in this from God. God is saying, oh no, whatever you do, don't believe me.

You know, never mind the facts, you just keep right on going that way. If the Jews such as Barnabas and Silas and the countless other Jews at this time could come to Christ and these Jews had no excuse for not coming. Jews are invited to believe not as Jews but as sinners like everybody else.

It's changed now. Christ has changed things. And you either come to Christ as a sinner that you are or you will not be forgiven. He says so that I could heal them. That's what God wants to do. That's his desire. He is the solution. Verse 28, therefore, let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles and they will hear it. And we're living proof that this is happening.

This is fulfilled. Paul knew this would push buttons. He knew that once they heard Gentiles, some of them would shut down but if the Spirit of God was working in the hearts of some of those Jews, they would say, well, you know what, I don't like this but I can't deny Christ is the Messiah and I will line up with him. The natural man wants to evade the lordship of God, doesn't want God's rules, wants to make their own rules. Verse 29, and when he had said these words the Jews departed and had a great dispute amongst themselves. Well, some believed, some disbelieved. And in our language, if you want to boil it down, to disbelieve is to hear and to reject, to be a disbeliever. To be an unbeliever can mean you never heard the message so you don't believe but it's not because you have rejected it, you never heard the message. And there are many people who have not truly heard the gospel in this country. They have heard versions of the gospel that are not biblical or they have watched with their eyes Christianity that is not according to the scripture.

And they've made, I was like that, I looked at, you know, the kooky Christians and said that can't be right. But then when the word of God came, all that changed. So he says here in verse 29, and when he had said these words the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves.

So he left them with a lot to talk about and that's why they were arguing back and forth. Verse 30, then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house and received all who came to him. Now he was in prison for two years back in Israel in Caesarea Maritima, there by the Mediterranean Sea. A little bit more than two years actually, just two years under Felix.

And then here is another two years in travel time. He's been probably in lost, for five years he has not had freedom there about. According to the early church fathers, and this is history, it is not scripture, but we have no reason to doubt this, according to them he was released from this imprisonment for about four years. And during that time he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus, likely preached on Crete.

He moved around, may have gone to Spain. We don't have any record of that, we just accept the church fathers, which are not apostles, but they were devout men, would have no reason to lie, and there's nothing in this is doctrinally wrong. Anyway, he was eventually re-arrested by Nero's administration, Nero, when the church, once the Roman Empire realized that the Christians were not a part of the Jews, they were free to persecute them without worrying about all of the connections they had with the Jewish people, and that they did. And of course, while at that second arrest, he wrote 2 Timothy, and is believed to have been beheaded, oh, 66, 67 years after the birth of Christ, a little over, about 33 years after the crucifixion resurrection of Christ, before the destruction of the Jewish temple.

Luke may have perished with him, and that might account for why we have no more information than what we have. Verse 31, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no one forbidding him. See, the gospel's not chained, he's chained to a man, but he's not gagged, he's still preaching, the advancement of the gospel has never been stopped globally, no one forbidding him. You know, here in America, they've been trying to forbid us from preaching the gospel, I think they're changing tactics. Our fight now is against this indoctrination of people that have pretty much marginalized Christianity as mythological, but everything they believe in is somehow factual, and this is where the war is. So Acts chapter 1, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, we summarize the book of Acts with Acts chapter 4 verse 33, and with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and great grace was upon them all. Thus were the first Christians preaching in chains.

Let's pray. Our Father, I don't know about everybody else, but I have thoroughly enjoyed our consideration of the actions of the apostles and the Holy Spirit. It has been very exciting, and I am just grateful and I pray that I'm always doing more, at least in my heart, a quest as a believer, to always do more for the kingdom. If you've been listening and you have not opened your heart to Christ, you're not a believer, you've never made a confession to Christ of your sin and requests for his lordship over your life, you have a chance right now. I don't know what holds a person back when they have no argument against the facts, and then they are invited to come and act upon the facts.

Why do they still hold back? Except, you know, the influence of Satan, the influence of the world, and that sinful nature of the individual, they work in concert to prohibit, if they can, the conversion of a soul. If you have no reason to reject Christ that you can think of, then come to him. He is looking forward to you coming to him. He shall see the travail of his soul, it tells us in Isaiah 53, and be satisfied. He shall see the suffering on the cross and be satisfied with the fruit, the converts that come from the life of Christ. If you'd like to receive him, then say this prayer with me, and God will receive you.

If you mean it, he'll take you. You say, Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I have broken your commandments. I ask you to forgive me of my sin, and I give my life to you right here and right now, that from this day forward, without shame, I will confess that you are my Savior and you are my Lord. And now, Father, if anyone has made this confession this morning, may they act upon it. We pray these things in Jesus' name.

Amen. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit That's We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-22 08:48:17 / 2024-03-22 08:57:42 / 9

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